Historical Water Newton

We had another day without travelling yesterday. We did try and moor by the Nene Valley Railway Station (museum) moorings, but unfortunately there was no room for us on the pontoon. As there was a strong breeze once again, and we are in no hurry, we had the idea of staying put for the day. We’re hoping that on our way back this way, there maybe a chance for us to moor at the railway station for a good look around.

Within a short distance from the station mooring, we saw what looks like a new marina in the making. ‘Sibson Marina’ is expected to be open Autum 2018 – see their website for details.

Talking of marinas, in a couple of weeks around Ely, we hope to moor in a marina for 3 nights. Looking for suitable marinas we’re struck how expensive they are in these parts; one marina we’ve found charges £20 per night.

Though the wind was still strong, the weather was glorious, and we had a lovely cruise to our first lock of the day, Water Newton Lock.

Water Newton Mill – now lovely homes

Could these gentlemen be the ‘last millers’?

At the top of the lock there’s the beautiful ‘St. Remigius Church’ which is within yards of the river bank. There’s also a notice saying ‘Moorings’ – not sure if it’s a ‘free’ mooring, or if there’s a small charge to the church. Looking at ‘The ‘Friends of the Church’ website Water Newton is crammed full of history.

In 1975 a Roman Hoard of 27 Roman silver items was discovered while a farmer ploughed a field, the hoard is now in the British Museum, with replicas of the hoard in Peterborough Museum see wiki link

Water Newton’s used to be called ‘Durobrivae’, and was a Roman fortified garrison town located where Ermine Street crossed the River Nene. More generally, it was in the territory of the Corieltauvi in a region of villas and commercial potteries. The name is a Latinisation of Celtic (or more accurately Brythonic) *Durobrīwās, meaning essentially “fort (by the) bridges” see wiki link

Water Newton Lock on the right of pic

Old photo of Water Newton Lock

Thoughts are going through my mind on what the journey will be like when we return, as these locks, particularly Water Newton Lock, the water appears to be pretty violent when filling. Must make sure the lock paddles are cranked just a bit at a time when going ‘up’ until the water equalises somewhat.

The locks are very well maintained with the grass being sharply cut.

Alwalton Lock

At Alwalton Lock we noticed two things, the first was a ‘Friends of the Nene’ mooring next to the lock which looks to be a lovely place, and maybe we’ll moor there on our return.

The other ‘thing’ we noticed was several ‘discarded’ mussel shells on the grass. A Google search brought up: this article

Britain faces a massive increase in its rat population – because they’ve discovered how to eat mussels.

The rodents are diving down to a rich new food supply and coming up trumps.

The phenomena has been discovered for the first time by Cambridge University biologist David Aldridge.

Piles of discarded mussel shells can now be found on the banks of the River Nene near March in Cambridgeshire. They remove the back third of the molluscs to get at the meat inside, which can be up to 10cm long.

‘The rat population has already exploded and will continue to explode,’ said Dr Aldridge from the University’s Zoology department.

‘They’ve tapped into a new food resource and have learned how to feed on fresh water mussels. They swim into the middle of the water, dive down and pull the mussels out.

Cruising on was very pleasant, especially with birdsong that kept us company. We’ve spotted our first grebe since leaving the Thames, and we even saw a cormorant diving and fishing for his dinner.

Milton Ferry Bridge

By 10:30 am we turned into ‘Nene Park – Overton Lake’ and what a fabulous place this is.

We were soon moored, where it was time for breakfast

Rusty’s not too happy as the pontoon has one of those grated surfaces, which must feel like he’s walking on a cheese grater. Still, he’s prepared to run the gauntlet as there’s a fabulous park for him to play.

The mooring part of the lake is run by the Environment Agency. There’s a facility for rubbish, but no Elsan services. Someone did whisper that if we offered a donation to the camp site that shares the lake, they might let us use their’s but we will give that a miss.

We’ve phoned Tina who is the Lock Keeper at Stanground Lock, she’ll help us down the lock to the ‘Middle Levels’. She’s booked us in for Friday at 10:30 am.

We should have plenty of time on Friday to travel 4.5 miles, including one lock, and stop for the Elsan and waterpoint at Peterborough Embankment, and be at Stanground lock on time, providing of course we start the day early.

This is such a treat!

Today we’ve travelled just over 4 miles, and through 2 locks.

2 thoughts on “Historical Water Newton

  1. Not much choice around Ely for moorings. The one in town is expensive for everything and you may end up having to breast up or having to move boats to get in and out. Public moorings are strictly 48 hours and i think it’s £100 per night if you overstay!
    There is a small marina and hire base in Ely and another place at Littleport but I’m not sure they do anything. Further out there is Fish & Duck or Little Ouse but they are no good without a car.

    If you are needing fuel, the marina in Ely is very expensive so I would suggest Fox’s at March. We used to use the Little Ouse moorings but they are cash only and only open a few days a week. Further up River the prices were similar everywhere.

    Don’t forget to get your Middle Levels windlass from Tina.

    • Thanks again Steve, you info’s brilliant for us. We’ve now tried quite a few marinas, and so far without luck. Will be writing up on what we’ve done in a few days. Best regards, Jen

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